Transgender prisoner dies of cancer days before release from NY correctional facility

ALBANY, N.Y. — A transgender prison inmate who got attention for suing the state of New York over her alleged rape in a men’s prison died of cancer last weekend, days before she was set to be freed on parole.

LeslieAnn Manning, who had been serving a 30-year sentence for shooting at a police car, died Saturday at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, just east of Buffalo, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Manning, 53, had lung cancer, according to her attorney, Susan Hazeldean.

The corrections department said she was scheduled to be released Sept. 23 after receiving parole board approval in May.

Manning accepted $100,000 from the state last year to settle a federal lawsuit in which she’d argued prison officials were “deliberately indifferent” to her safety as a transgender woman housed in a men’s prison.

In the suit, filed in 2015, Manning said she had been raped by a male prisoner in an unmonitored classroom.

Manning was still going by her birth name, Ronald, when she began serving a sentence of 30 years to life in 1991 for attempted murder, attempted assault and weapons charges.

Manning escaped from state custody in 1998 while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Warsaw, New York, but was recaptured.

According to a 2012 profile in The Citizen , of Auburn, New York, Manning successfully sued the state for the right to undergo hormone therapy, beginning treatment in 2009.

“They try to do everything they can to deny that you’re trying to be female,” Manning told the newspaper about trying to live as a woman in prison. “It’s just continual harassment.”

Hazeldean said the prison should have expedited Manning’s release because of the gravity of her illness.

A longtime friend, Jamie Moorby, told The Associated Press that during a recent visit, Manning was in a wheelchair, on oxygen and could barely be upright for an hour before having to go lay down.

“All she cared about at that stage was getting her freedom before she died,” she said.

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